ZSW ramps up research plants for perovskite tandem solar cells
The future certainly looks sunny for solar cells equipped with two electricity-generating semiconductors. With good reason – their potential efficiency is far higher than that of conventional single solar cells. They can also be lighter and more flexible, depending on their component materials. The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) now aims to fast-track this promising tandem solar technology’s time to market. To this end, its researchers have put two new high-performance coating plants into operation. These systems produce tandem solar cells consisting of a perovskite solar cell that can be combined with other types of solar cells. The various layers are deposited under ultra-clean conditions. Companies in the solar sector can take advantage of these capabilities to optimize their developments in the area of tandem solar cells.
Our Swiss colleagues at EMPA have recently achieved a new efficiency record of 21.4% for flexible CIGS solar cell on polymer film. Solar cells of this type are especially suited for applications on roofs, transport vehicles or mobile devices.
CIGS Thin-Film Photovoltaics is indispensible for prosperity, energy transition and enabling net zero emission targets within the EU. CIGS solar modules are produced with small amounts of indium. The capacity for indium production in Europe is sufficient for more than 100 GW PV production per year with the potential to meet Terawatt challenges in a cost-effective manner. A number of renowned European and US research institute have compiled information from recent studies and publications showing that indium should be considered an “earth abundant element” in order to facilitate research progress in EU countries.
Research team pinpoints potential for improving CIGS solar cells
The efficiency of today’s thin-film solar cells with the CIGS compound semiconductor has already topped the 23 percent mark, but now a further increase looks to be within reach. A team staffed with researchers from the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) recently identified a key point where the performance of thin-film solar cells can be improved for the cell to convert more sunlight into electricity. Published in the renowned science journal Nature Communications in August 2020, the results of this investigation reveal how manufacturers of CIGS thin-film solar cells can achieve even higher efficiencies.
Place and date have now been set for the international CIGS workshop IW-CIGSTech 11! It will take place at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB) in Berlin Adlershof on 22nd and 23rd June 2020. The workshop will be co-hosted by HZB and ZSW.
The first day (Monday) will be devoted to industry updates, followed by a social event in the evening. On the second day (Tuesday), research organizations will have their say. The day will end in the early afternoon to enable everyone to get home on Tuesday.
More detailed information will be published at usual on the event website iw-cigstech.org.
German-Chines joint venture NICE Solar Energy GmbH has achieved a new world record efficiency for CIGS thin-film solar modules with 17.6 percent. This efficiency record, confirmed by TÜV Rheinland on a module surface area of 120 x 60 centimeters, was achieved on production equipment of Manz at the R&D site of NICE Solar Energy in Schwäbisch Hall. For more details, see news articles by Manz AG and pv magazine.
Perovskite/ CIGS semiconductor pairing promises to boost photovoltaic efficiency
The efficiency ceiling of commercially available solar modules leaves little room for improvement. Tandem solar modules with two light-harvesting active layers have far greater potential. The future could well belong to this promising technology. Researchers engaged in the Capitano project are combining thin-film solar modules based on perovskite semiconductors with semiconductors made of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS). This combination is the key to building remarkably efficient tandem solar cells with all the advantages of thin-film technology and an efficiency factor that could top the 30-percent mark. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Schwäbisch Hall-based enterprise NICE Solar Energy, and the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) have joined forces in this project with the ZSW acting as coordinator.
Michael Powalla (ZSW) and Rutger Schlatmann (HZB) write in pv magazine about CIGS, discussing the versatile applications, cost efficiency and environmental impact of the thin-film technology. Check it out!
The new edition of the CIGS White Paper has been published today. In a joint press release, research institutes ZSW and HZB describe why thin-film PV, in particular CIGS, is a key technology to drive global energy transition.
The program of IW-CIGSTech 10, to be held in Paris on 23rd/24th of May 2019, is now available. Check it out on the workshop website! Registration will open soon, so you might as well make your travel arrangements already. The accommodation page will help you with that.